Enforcing Child Support Orders Part One

Child Support Orders can come from divorce cases for people who were married or from Family Court cases for parents who were never married. In a divorce case, there are orders that are created during the divorce process which are called temporary support orders and usually when the divorce is made final a different child support order will become the new order of support.

The Family Court is the only place where unmarried parents can obtain an order of child support. Divorced parents may also use the Family Court to modify and enforce their final divorce order of child support.

This note will only focus on enforcing child support orders in the Family Court. To enforce an order of child support an obligation to pay child support must first exist. When there are no payments or a reduced amount of support is paid, the parent entitled to child support may seek to have the Family Court enforce the Supreme Court divorce order of child support or may ask the Family Court to enforce its own order of support.

A Family Court Petition To Enforce An Order of Support and/or to determine a Violation of a Support Order must be prepared. The Family Court website has forms that may be utilized however most people will seek assistance in the preparation of the Petition. The Child Support Enforcement Bureau can help with the preparation of the Petition.

Once the Petition has been prepared and filed with the court you will receive a notice of the date when the case will be on the court calendar. At that time you must appear. The Support Magistrate will inquire whether you or the other parent need an adjournment to retain an attorney. The case may be conferenced at that time as well. A date for a future conference or hearing will usually be set.

My next blog will focus on how to prepare for your court date to enforce your order of child support.